St. Stephen’s Day – August 20: History, Celebrate & Quotes

St. Stephen’s Day celebrated on August 20th, holds a special place in the hearts of Hungarians. This national holiday commemorates the founding of the Hungarian state and pays tribute to the country’s first king, St. Stephen. With its rich historical and cultural significance, the day is marked by vibrant festivities, traditions, and a strong sense of national pride.

St. Stephen’s Day celebrated on August 20th, is a significant date in Hungary’s calendar, a day when the nation comes together to honor its past, celebrate its present, and look towards the future. This special day commemorates the life and achievements of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary, and serves as a symbol of unity, culture, and tradition.

History of St. Stephen’s Day

St. Stephen’s Day is an official national holiday in Hungary, celebrated on August 20. It commemorates the foundation of the Hungarian state by Stephen I of Hungary, who was canonized as a saint in 1083.

Stephen was the Grand Prince of the Hungarians from 997 to 1000 when he has crowned the first king of Hungary. He was a Christian convert and played a major role in spreading Christianity among the Hungarian people. He also established a strong central government and built up the Hungarian army.

Stephen’s death on August 15, 1038, was a major turning point in Hungarian history. His son, Peter I, succeeded him, but he was a weak ruler and was overthrown by his cousin, Samuel Aba. The Hungarian state was plunged into a civil war, which lasted for several decades.

In 1083, Stephen was canonized as a saint by Pope Gregory VII. This helped to unify the Hungarian people and to strengthen the Hungarian state. St. Stephen’s Day has been celebrated as a national holiday ever since.

The main celebrations of St. Stephen’s Day take place in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. There is a large military parade, followed by a mass at St. Stephen’s Basilica. In the evening, there is a fireworks display over the Danube River.

How to Celebrate St. Stephen’s Day

St. Stephen’s Day is a time to honor Hungary’s first king and revel in the nation’s rich cultural heritage. Here are some delightful ways to celebrate this special day:

Attend the Morning Procession:

Start the day by joining the solemn morning procession and Mass at St. Stephen’s Basilica. Pay your respects to the saint and immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere.

Experience the Floral Parade:

Witness the stunning Floral Parade, where intricately designed floats adorned with flowers weave through the streets. Marvel at the creativity and craftsmanship on display.

Participate in Folk Traditions:

Engage in folk traditions like the Bridal Dance and dancing with the scythe. Immerse yourself in the cultural practices that have been passed down through generations.

Enjoy Fireworks and Festivals:

As the sun sets, gather with fellow celebrants to watch the mesmerizing fireworks display. Explore street festivals, concerts, and performances that bring the city to life.

Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica:

Explore the grandeur of St. Stephen’s Basilica, a significant landmark that plays a central role in the festivities. Attend religious ceremonies and admire the architectural beauty.

5 Fun Facts About St. Stephen

Apostolic King: 

St. Stephen earned the title of “Apostolic King” for his pivotal role in converting Hungary to Christianity. His efforts in spreading the Christian faith shaped the nation’s religious and cultural landscape.

Hand of St. Stephen: 

The incorruptible right hand of St. Stephen is one of Hungary’s most cherished relics. It is preserved in the St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest and is paraded through the streets every year on his feast day.

Founder of the Hungarian State: 

St. Stephen is credited with establishing the Hungarian state and centralizing its power. His reign marked the beginning of a unified Hungary with a strong royal authority.

Pious Legacy: 

St. Stephen’s devotion to Christianity was evident in his support for the Church and his efforts to build churches and monasteries throughout Hungary. His piety left an indelible mark on the country’s religious heritage.


St. Stephen was canonized in the year 1083 by Pope Gregory VII. His canonization further solidified his status as a revered figure in Hungarian history and spirituality.

St. Stephen Quotes, Wishes & Messages

As we celebrate St. Stephen’s Day, may his commitment to faith, leadership, and progress serve as a guiding light in our lives.

Let us honor the memory of St. Stephen by fostering harmony, understanding, and a sense of belonging within our communities. Happy St. Stephen’s Day!

May the teachings of St. Stephen inspire us to lead with kindness, embrace diversity, and work towards a better future for all. Happy St. Stephen’s Day!

St. Stephen’s Day reminds us that leadership is not about power, but about service and upliftment. May we follow his example and lead with humility and purpose.

On St. Stephen’s Day, we reflect on the legacy of a visionary king whose actions continue to shape our nation’s identity. Let us celebrate unity and progress.

Just as St. Stephen’s rule brought stability and enlightenment to Hungary, may his spirit guide us towards a world of harmony and compassion. Happy St. Stephen’s Day!

St. Stephen’s Day Dates

2023August 20Sunday
2024August 20Tuesday
2025August 20Wednesday
2026August 20Thursday
2027August 20Friday


What is the significance of St. Stephen’s Day in Hungary?

St. Stephen’s Day commemorates the founding of the Hungarian state and honors the nation’s first king, St. Stephen.

How is St. Stephen’s Day celebrated?

The day is marked with a morning procession, Mass, Blessing of the New Bread, fireworks, street festivals, and cultural events.

What are some traditional foods enjoyed on St. Stephen’s Day?

Kürtőskalács (chimney cake), lángos (deep-fried dough), and Gundel palacsinta (Hungarian crepes) are popular treats.

What folk traditions are associated with St. Stephen’s Day?

Folk traditions include the Bridal Dance, dancing with the scythe, and the belief in the magical properties of water.

Why is St. Stephen’s Basilica significant on this day?

St. Stephen’s Basilica is the focal point of celebrations, hosting religious ceremonies and cultural events that honor Hungary’s heritage.


St. Stephen’s Day, observed on August 20th in Hungary, is a testament to the nation’s rich history, cultural heritage, and enduring traditions. As Hungarians come together to celebrate and pay homage to their past, they also embrace the future with hope and unity. This day serves as a vibrant tapestry woven with rituals, culinary delights, and a strong sense of community.

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